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Reviews Southwest Writers Series. James W. Lee, general editor. (Austin, Texas: Steck: Vaughn Company, 1967. Each pamphlet, $1.00.) 1. J. Frank Dobie, by Francis Edward Abernethy. 52 pages. 2. John C. Duval: First Texas Man of Letters, by John Q. Anderson. 44 pages. 3. Charles A. Siringo: A Texas Picaro, by Charles D. Peavy. 41 pages. 4. Andy Adams: Storyteller and Novelist of the Great Plains, by Wilson M. Hudson. 44 pages. 5. Tom Lea: Artist in Two Mediums, by John O. West. 44 pages. 6. Katherine Anne Porter: The Regional Stories, by Winifred S. Emmons. 43 pages. 7. William Humphrey, by James W. Lee. 44 pages. 8. Paul Horgan, by James M. Day. 44 pages. 9. Oliver LaFarge, by Everett A. Gillis. 44 pages. 10. Fred Gipson, by Sam M. Henderson. 52 pages. 11. Eugene Manlove Rhodes: Cowboy Chronicler, by Edwin W. Gaston, Jr. 44 pages. 12. J. Mason Brewer: Negro Folklorist, by James W. Byrd. 44 pages. 13. George Sessions Perry, by Stanley Alexander. 44 pages. The Steck-Vaughn Company, which in the past has been largely a pub­ lisher of textbooks, has begun “a continuing pamphlet series about the writers of the Southwest.” The pamphlets, edited by James W. Lee of North Texas State University, have the following elements in common: Each has approxi­ 70 Western American Literature mately forty-eight pages and is bound in an attractive paper cover. All the authors are Ph.D. teachers in Texas colleges. Each writer is more or less a Southwestern writer, some more and some less. For instance, J. Frank Dobie is somewhat more a Southwestern writer than is Katherine Anne Porter. The advertised uniformity does not really exist—nor should it. The format is patterned although the number of pages varies. And one might question whether J. Mason Brewer deserves equal space with Paul Horgan and Andy Adams. Some of the essays are more detailed than others, and some are better organized. The chief defect of the series, as I see it, is in the editing. Some of the sketches are rambling; and a more effective organization, including a uniform division into sections, would make them more effective. Typographical errors, like that on page 6 of /. Frank Dobie (Mr. Dobie “graudated” in 1910), are annoying. A careful editor would also have noticed Mr. Hender­ son’s calling Fred Gipson’s biography of Colonel Zack Miller, Fabulous Empire, a novel (see p. 12). The chief purpose of a series such as this should be to stimulate an interest in reading and research in the literature of the Southwest. For the most part, these pamphlets fulfill this purpose admirably. Of course, stimula­ tion of interest in the works of J. Frank Dobie is not necessary, because his books have consistently been popular. Francis Edward Abernethy’s essay on Dobie is not nearly so interesting as Dobie’s Some Part of Myself, included in Mr. Abernethy’s bibliography but not cited in the text of the pamphlet. Mr. Abernethy is condescending towards his subject: “His forte did not lie in discovering the part of man’s life that would give him soul as well as flesh.” He is condescending towards his reader: “Dobie himself does not anthropomorphize; he is careful not to invest the animal with manlike characteristics.” And, also, he presents too simplistic a view of Dobie, who was a complex person. In my opinion, John Q, Anderson’s John C. Duval is the best written essay in the group. Mr. Anderson relates thebasic facts of Duval’s life to his works (Early Times in Texas, The Adventures of Bigfoot Wallace, etc.) in such a way as to cause the reader to want to read (or to reread) Duval. Peavy’s Charles A. Siringo, Hudson’s Andy Adams, and Gaston’s Eugene Manlove Rhodes should be considered together; all three were "cowboy” writers. Siringo wrote autobiography that was partially fictional; Adams wrote fiction that was largely biographical; and Rhodes’s slick Westerns (as con­ trasted with the pulp Westerns of his time—the paper-quality classifications no longer apply) are autobiographical in that he was thoroughly familiar with the settings. Siringo was a part of therange cattle industry; Adams...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 69-73
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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